Goals for biodiesel in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) recently announced by the government could be a bit better and should be realistic, as the green fuel benefits everyone and gains some unlikely allies. Cindy caught up with Wade Cowan, Texas farmer and president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) during the Ag Media Summit and got his thoughts on biodiesel and what the Environmental Protection Agency’s goals on biodiesel in the RFS means.
“We would hope [the EPA] would raise the goals [to high but attainable levels],” he said. “It’s a product that not only helps all the consumers in the country who use diesel, but it also helps livestock producers” by keeping a steady supply of soybean meal available. “We’re not asking for the moon, but we want [the RFS goals] high enough to keep making the industry want to go forward and be more productive.”
Wade said biodiesel even has fans in the oil industry.
“They like biodiesel, because someone has to distribute it,” adding companies like Exxon are also interested in helping make the environment better and reduce the U.S.’ dependence on foreign oil. “They’re in it with us, and we expect to see more and more cooperation.”
You can hear all of Cindy’s interview with Wade (or if you’re impatient and just want to get to the biodiesel parts, fast-forward to about the 5:00 mark) here: Interview with Wade Cowan, ASA president
2015 Ag Media Summit Photo Album
Save the date for the Biodiesel and Bioheat Forum taking place August 19, 2015 in Mankato, Minnesota.
States up and down the East Coast have ventured into new markets and uses for biodiesel that offer significant potential for Minnesota and U.S. soybean farmers as well as the entire biodiesel industry. One market includes the Bioheat market – nearly 6.2 million homes rely on heating oil in the winter months. In fact, the average home can use more than 1,000 gallons in one winter.
The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council will host a delegation from the East Coast, as well as local and national biodiesel leaders. The group will include representatives from the New York Oil Heating Association, National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals, National Oilheat Research Alliance and the Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association, ready to share their experiences with biodiesel and explain the market potential in all arenas.
While much of the debate around biofuels revolves around future technologies and future uses, this round table discussion will look at opportunities available now for the biodiesel industry to grow and solidify its success.
Camelina could help end the food-versus-fuel debate for biodiesel. This article from the American Society of Agronomy says that new research found that growing camelina with soybeans in the Upper Midwest has promising signs.
Russ Gesch, a plant physiologist with the USDA Soil Conservation Research Lab in Morris, Minnesota, found encouraging results when growing Camelina sativa with soybean in the Midwest.
Camelina is a member of the mustard family and an emerging biofuel crop. It is well suited as a cover crop in the Midwest. “Finding any annual crop that will survive the [Midwest] winters is pretty difficult,” says Gesch, “but winter camelina does that and it has a short enough growing season to allow farmers to grow a second crop after it during the summer.”
Additionally, in the upper Midwest, soils need to retain enough rainwater for multiple crops in one growing season. Gesch and his colleagues measured water use of two systems of dual-cropping using camelina and soybean. They compared it with a more typical soybean field at the Swan Lake Research Farm near Morris, MN.
First, researchers planted camelina at the end of September. From there growing methods differed. In double-cropping, soybean enters the field after the camelina harvest in June or July. Relay-cropping, however, overlaps the crops’ time. Soybeans grow between rows of camelina in April or May before the camelina plants mature and flower.
While dual-cropping might not work for everyone, such as farms in the more arid West, where it does work, it also offers benefits, such as boosting soybean yields. Plus, the camelina flowers offer a good food source for pollinators at a time when there might not be a lot for the bees to eat.
The people who grow the most popular feedstock for biodiesel are recognizing the board that promotes the green fuel, and in turn, promotes the commodity and a market developer who is helping promote soybeans. The United Soybean Board (USB) recently awarded its Excellence in Oil Award to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and its Outstanding Achievement Award to international aquaculture market developer Michael Cremer, Ph.D.
“The board is excited to have the opportunity to honor both Dr. Cremer and NBB and thank them for their contributions to the U.S. soy industry,” says Bob Haselwood, USB chairman and soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas. “Both recipients have played a large role in moving our industry forward, and for that we are extremely grateful.”
Biodiesel is one of the most researched renewable fuels on the market, and, as an advanced biofuel, one that is leading the way in the market. None of this would have been possible without the expertise and dedication of NBB. Checkoff-funded research shows biodiesel has added 74 cents per bushel to the price soybean farmers receive, increased domestic crush and returned value to the entire soybean industry – even those on the meal side of the equation.
“The National Biodiesel Board’s partnership with the United Soybean Board is the perfect example of teamwork that hits the ball out of the park every time,” says NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “As a key customer of U.S. soybean oil making a significant contribution to soybean profitability, we are truly honored to be recognized.”
Cremer, the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s international aquaculture senior program adviser, has dedicated more than 30 years to helping the U.S. soy industry realize its potential with a growing consumer of soy. Through his work in aquaculture, he helped the Asian aquaculture industry become a more sustainable industry that is using more U.S. soy every year in fish feed.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” says Cremer. “Working with the U.S. soybean industry has been the highlight of my career. I have been doubly blessed, to have had one of the best aquaculture jobs in the world and to work with folks that I call both colleagues and friends.”
Soybean growers in Illinois are recognizing fleets in the state that run on a 20 percent blend of biodiesel, B20. This news release from the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) says the group has partnered with the American Lung Association in Illinois to launch the B20 Club.
“B20 offers economic and environmental benefits to the fleets that use it, so we wanted to bring these leading fleets together and recognize them for taking the initiative to move up to B20,” says Rebecca Richardson, ISA biodiesel lead. “We’ll also provide resources for our B20 Club members, and others in the state, who have questions about how to use biodiesel in their fleets.”
Inaugural members include:
The Fleet Services Division of Public Works Department in the City of Evanston, Ill., which operates 366 units that include all diesel police and fire vehicles, heavy equipment, utilities and forestry departments and pool vehicles and parks and recreation buses.
Cook-Illinois Corporation; Kickert School Bus Lines, Inc., one of their leading subsidiaries which also is one of the largest family-owned and -operated school bus contractors in the country, runs more than 2,100 school buses every day.
Peoria CityLink operates 58 buses and 35 Paratransit vans that carry three million passengers annually.
R&N Trucking LLC, with 17 trucks that together travel more than a million miles a year.
S.K. Davison, a family-run business specializing in local and regional hauls with 18 trucks travelling approximately 800,000 miles per year.
G&D Integrated, serving central Illinois for more than 100 years with transportation, freight transfer and storage services, and currently more than 400 long-haul trucks.
The six members of the B20 Club run more than 2,700 vehicles burning more than 2.2 million gallons of biodiesel. That cuts carbon dioxide emissions of more than 253 tons — a reduction the equivalent of taking 48 cars off the roadway.
The biodiesel industry and soybean growers weighed in on the EPA decision today to delay 2014 volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“This Administration says over and over that it supports biodiesel, yet its actions with these repeated delays are undermining the industry,” said National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “Biodiesel producers have laid off workers and idled production. Some have shut down altogether. We know that fuels policy is complex, but there is absolutely no reason that the biodiesel volume hasn’t been announced. We are urging the Administration to finalize a 2014 rule as quickly as possible that puts this industry back on track for growth and puts our country back on track for ending our dangerous dependence on oil. We also urge them to move quickly on 2015 so that we don’t repeat this flawed process again next year.”
“The continued delays create great uncertainty for the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers and limits the industry’s ability to invest and expand,” said American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser. “The Proposed Rule was unacceptable and would have taken biodiesel backward from the amounts produced and utilized in 2013. However, ASA believes that EPA can and should finalize a 2014 rule that sets the biomass-based diesel volumes at or above the nearly 1.8 billion gallons that were produced and consumed in the U.S. in 2013.”
As the world celebrated World Food Day yesterday, the folks at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), along with their friends at the American Soybean Association (ASA), make the case that the biodiesel industry, soybean growers and livestock producers are an important part of the food chain.
“The world has a protein gap that needs to be filled,” said American Soybean Association World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Chairman Andy Welden. “Our crop offers soybean meal for livestock feed and human food, which at the same time, creates an abundant supply of soybean oil for biodiesel.”
October 16 is annually recognized as World Food Day. The 2014 Theme is Family Farming; Feeding the world, caring for the earth. The United States produces more than 3.2 billion bushels of soybeans a year, offering an abundant supply of meal for human foods and livestock feeds as well as oil for biodiesel and other uses. U.S. soybean growers also participate in support sustainability programs for conservation and other environmental practices.
NBB also pointed that increased biodiesel production benefits poultry and livestock farmers, as increased amounts of soy oil for biodiesel production also means more soy meal is available for livestock feed and human food. The group added that, according to the United Nations, 805 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14. But that number is actually down more than 100 million over the last decade, in no small part because of the ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) that assists developing country entrepreneurs and leaders in filling the “protein gap” with nutritious soy-based foods as well as livestock and aquaculture feeds.
Along with reducing the cost of livestock feed, biodiesel also adds value to animal fats. In 2013 demand for fats and oils for biodiesel production increased the value of beef tallow an estimated $567 million, pork fat an estimated $165 million, and poultry fat by more than $51 million, making the production of animal protein more economical.
Maker of devices and systems for refining edible oils and biofuels, including biodiesel and ethanol, Cavitation Technologies, Inc. (CTi) will have one of its reactors installed at a soybean processing plant. The company’s agreement with Desmet Ballestra Group will see CTi’s vegetable oil refining system process approximately 500 tons of soybean oil with full installation and operations coming in 2015.
President Igor Gorodnitsky comments, “We are excited to have our first system sale in fiscal 2015. We believe that fiscal 2015 will encompass a combination of the benefits our technology brings in vegetable oil refining, production of ethanol and biodiesel, water and petroleum treatment. Our invaluable relationships with our licensees, the Desmet Ballestra Group and GEA Westfalia provide our company with very strong business partnership with global technology leaders.”
CTi anticipates approximately $350,000 in revenue from this sale. This is CTi’s 12th system put in North America.
The first summer of Minnesota running a 10 percent biodiesel (B10) mandate is being called a success. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) says as the state moves back to a B5 mandate over the winter months, the group is celebrating how well the higher blend made mostly from its soybeans went.
“The implementation of B10 went very well,” said George Goblish, President of the MSGA. “I think we alleviated the concerns of truckers and auto manufacturers.”
Steve Howell, president of MARC-IV Consulting, said Minnesota has proven biodiesel blends can be a high-quality fuel at the retail pump level.
“The stability of the product in Minnesota far exceeded the stability specs, and people in Minnesota can feel good about the fuel they are getting,” he said.
Howell said the high quality of B10 in Minnesota at the pump is because of the quality control measures in place throughout the state.
Officials from the fuel consulting company MEG Corp. say the B10 easily met and exceeded the key quality indicator of oxidative stability, a measure of degradation caused by exposure to oxygen. This means consumers can expect the B10 they buy to be good for at least a year after purchase, allaying fears some automobile groups had that the green fuel would drop in quality by the time it hit fuel tanks.
From now through April 1, 2015, Minnesota goes back to a 5 percent biodiesel blend, with B10 kicking back in after that for the next summer.
A new report shows that the main feedstocks for biodiesel and ethanol, soybeans and corn, are going to have bigger harvests than previously expected. The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri says while the big crops will push prices for those feedstocks down – even further down than what was projected just a couple of weeks ago – soybean and corn prices will recover a bit as markets adjust.
– Larger corn and soybean crops translate into lower projected 2014/15 prices for many grains and oilseeds. Corn prices drop to $3.50 per bushel, soybeans to $9.92 per bushel… In all … cases, these projected prices are close to the midpoint of the price ranges reported in the September USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
– Larger crops in 2014/15 also result in larger beginning stocks and total crop supplies in 2015/16. As a result, corn and soybean prices for next year’s crop are lower than projected in August. Corn prices average $3.80 per bushel in 2015/16, and soybean prices drop to $9.04 per bushel.
– Prices recover as markets adjust. Corn prices average $4.10 per bushel, soybeans average $10.21 per bushel … over the 2016‐18 period.
Previously, FAPRI said that corn prices would stay at about $4 per bushel for corn, but the new, bigger numbers for yield estimates push those prices down even more.